Adventures in Istanbul



Days 10-11

May 11, 2008

Arriving in Istanbul, we were struck by the panorama of the city as we descended into it. It goes on forever. We later found that from a city of two to three million in the 1960’s, Istanbul has grown to a city of over 15 million today!

The city is on two continents, Europe and Asia. We crossed a beautiful bridge built in the early ‘70s to take a picture of the European side of the city from the Asian side. It was my first time on Asian soil ever! - Bob

Shot of Jim with native-born tour guide, Murat.

Shot of Jim with native-born tour guide, Murat.

May 12, 2008 - Istanbul

We spent the next day with Murat, our native-born guide, who gave us a fine tour of the highlights that we had time to see in this bustling Metropolis. Everywhere we looked, things looked good, growing and prosperous.

We visited the famous Blue Mosque, had lunch at a neat little shop, watched Mercer bargain with the rug merchant and finished with a tour of the Topkapi Palace, which the Sultans inhabited until 1924. The outside of the Turkish buildings are relatively plain, but the insides were spectacular. We saw emeralds in the Sultan’s jewels the size of a woman’s fist and a diamond that exceeded 86t carats! They didn’t allow pictures in the jewel rooms. Pictures seen below include: Inside the Blue Mosque, I sell it to you for Dis Much! as Mercer buys a carpet and The Topkapi Palace of the Sultans.

Tomorrow we head for Cairo. Hard to believe that this Friday will see us back in Orlando at the halfway point in our journey! - Bob


I have never been so close to 15,000,000 people. This is a hustle bustle place. We spent the day with a terrific guide named Murat, a Muslim. I learned a lot and continue to believe that people do not make war; politicians and religious leaders make war and they, in modern times, could not do it without a media that thrives on it and feeds the conflicts. Istanbul is an amazing place with lots of history.

Structures like Il Sophia, which was the largest building in the world for more than 1,000 years and built in the 6th century, is just one. It is a magnificent building with beautiful mosaics depicting the Virgin, Christ and the disciples. These were all covered up with carpets and plaster when it was converted to a mosque. Now it is a museum where Muslim and Christian symbols are displayed side by side. Hopefully, a sign of things to come.

The Blue Mosque, just three minutes walk from Il Sophia, is also an architectural and engineering wonder as is the Sultan’s palace next door. The Sultan who built this place had 1,300 cooks and more than 100 wives! Look these places up on the will be worth your time.

We are on our way to Cairo now flying at FL450 over the Med. I will be home Friday and can’t wait to see my bride, Mary. This is an unbelievable trip but nothing beats being home with your loved ones. More soon, Mercer

Lauren Kowalski